“All conditioned things are impermanent-when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.”
Impermanence can be seen with the caterpillar.
A caterpillar’s life revolves around eating and growing so that it can continue its life cycle. If a caterpillar did not embrace change it wouldn’t become a butterfly. It had to become something different to be who it was truly meant to be.
Though I understood this…I was not a fan of change.
I usually plan out my days. Wait…I usually plan out my life. I know what I am going to do weeks before I even do it. That is the way that I like it. It is the way it has to be.
I sit down and make lists on top of list and calendars filled with my next move. This gives me peace that calms the beast called anxiety that always hovers over me.
What shatters my peace? When something comes up last minute and I have to change my day. That infuriates me. Change exasperates me.
I must go deeper, however.
I have to tell you why I truly loathe change.
Change means more to me than just an adjustment in plans. I despise change because altering who I am or anything in my life could mean I lose people. And, like any other human on the planet, I want people to like me. If they like me then…I am enough.
Is that what that means?
Let me explain.
When I realized that I wanted to write erotic romance, I was afraid that people’s opinion of me would change. Would I lose some friends? Would I lose some family members? I was considered the “good girl” in my family. I obeyed my parents, went to school every day. Did what I was told. There was no way I would be the one to write about sex for a living.
Now that everyone knows that is what I write I am afraid to tell them that I don’t want to write that anymore. Will I lose readers? Will people’s opinion of me change again? Will I seem like I’m giving up or not being true to myself? Will they still like me?
I could do what I have done in the past and just give the people what they want just to keep those people in my life. I have always just stuck to a persona to make sure that people saw me as enough. That they would stick around and I wouldn’t cause any waves. There have been times where I did lose people because I changed or truthfully…I started being more authentic.
Change meant I could lose everything.
So…I hated change.
Then I began to study Buddhism and the concept of impermanence was introduced to me. Buddhism teaches that everything changes. Nothing is permanent. As adult humans, we are not the same now as we were when were infants, children, teenagers. We are different in our twenties than we are every decade after. That’s life. That is change.
We suffer, we feel pain, we fall down…but that won’t last forever. Happiness. Joy. Those will come too and although they won’t last, Buddhism teaches you to enjoy them while they are here.
I was afraid to change my genre around. To try new things in my writing. Honestly, I am still afraid. But I am not the same person, the same writer that I was when I started my first novel at 23. I am 35 now and so much has progressed in my mind and in my writing. It was inevitable that I would evolve and move on to something else.
We all must advance as writers. It’s growth when we learn and improve. It’s okay to try new writing techniques, switch genres, or join a critique group to learn new things about yourself and your work in progress.
Everything evolves and changes. I had to learn that. Change is good.
We all must learn this lesson. I needed to learn that those who are no longer there when I change into the writer and the person I was meant to be weren’t truly there for me. They were a part of the change and it’s okay to leave them behind.
Do not shy away from change because of fear, anxiety or thoughts that you may lose some control or people along the way. Roll with the punches and know that growth awaits you.